The roller coaster of emotions experienced by staff and patrons at the Irish Pub came to a joyful end a lot sooner than many expected, as the pub officially reopened its doors Thursday morning, just four days after an SUV came crashing through the wall.
"Sunday was scary, today was happy," said Manager Tracy Talley.
"It all just came together so quickly and we're all just happy for it."
For the dozens who returned to the Irish Pub for a bite to eat and a cold beer on Thursday, the Atlantic City landmark is more than just a pub to them.
"It's a staple. It’s an absolute landmark in Atlantic City. People when they mention the top three places in Atlantic City, the Irish Pub is one of them," said visitor Joel Ruda.
"Subway, we had to go to Subway. We missed it; we come here most every day,” said Don Matlock. "if you go to Atlantic City, you've got to come here."
Employees say the bar had only previously closed twice in its history, during Hurricanes Sandy and Irene.
Noting the rarity of the occasion, radio host Marc Berman and his listeners saw the need to celebrate with a toast.
“The Irish Pub is an iconic watering hole in Atlantic City," said Marc Berman of News Talk 1400 WOND.
"Remember the show ‘Cheers’? It was a friendly place to come and drink. That's the Irish Pub."
The damage to the exterior of the pub is still visible, and employees say it will take some time to repair. But inside the pub, a group of dedicated people worked long hours to give the Irish Pub its new look.
"It was a labor of love for them,” said Talley. “They knew what the Irish Pub was to everybody and they just kind of worked through the night just to get us up and running. We grateful to them, we're thankful for it, it’s great to be back."
A new mural and stenciling work has replaced what was a gaping hole. The once dented bar is now repaired and the large pile of debris outside has been taken away as the Irish Pub begins to return to business as usual.
"I'm very happy, four days to reopen, a devastating crash but they're reopened, I'm very happy for them," said Atlantic City Councilman Steven Moore.
"Everybody is just so sweet about everything. They just want it to open, so now we are, and now we're happy," said Talley.
Irish Pub staff say that safety was their top concern and work was also done to make sure the repaired wall was properly insulated to ensure the comfort of patrons.
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